Education and Career Navigation: Framework Support
Leading career development theories lend support to the inclusion of the various components (Subcomponents) in the navigation framework. Person–environment fit and correspondence theories (e.g., Dawis & Lofquist, 1984; Holland, 1959, 1997) postulate specific concepts that interact to influence career choice and satisfaction. For Holland, these include similarities and differences between personal attributes (personality and interests) and the attributes of vocational environments whereby the degree of match or congruence between these attributes influences important vocational outcomes, such as job choice, performance, satisfaction, and turnover. The Theory of Work Adjustment (Dawis, 2005) argues that job satisfaction and performance are inextricably linked to the relationships between personal characteristics (needs, values, and skills) and environmental characteristics (available rewards and needed skills and abilities).
From a different theoretical perspective, Super’s (1990) life-stage career development theory focuses on the development and implementation of the self-concept through vocational tasks that involve the understanding of personal attributes during the exploration stage, making choices consistent with those attributes, being planful, and pursuing goals. For Super, implementing the self-concept is instrumental not only to identity development, but also to later satisfaction. Super (1990) also emphasizes contextual influences on this development, including the salience of life roles such as worker, student, parent, and so forth, and role conflicts in the life space and across the life span. The combination of roles a person assumes changes over time, which requires individuals to clarify and balance those roles based on which roles are more or less important at a given time.
Gottfredson’s (1981) Theory of Circumscription and Compromise is a process model of career choice guided by important influences on the self-concept, such as occupational perceptions, sex-role norms and attitudes, social class and status, and the development of personal attributes that intersect with the realities of the world of work to shape individuals’ choice options. For Gottfredson, there is a dynamic interplay between the individual and the environment. Children are influenced more by external factors (e.g., social class) than internal factors (e.g., interests) as they eliminate occupation alternatives, while internal factors become more prominent in determining occupation fit for adolescents. This theory also addresses external realities and constraints (e.g., available jobs in a desired geographic area) by suggesting that individuals will accommodate what they wish to do given what is realistically achievable, and compromise on their occupational compatibility on one factor (e.g., interests) to maintain greater fit with another factor (e.g., values).
Social Cognitive Career Theory (Lent, 2013b) seeks to explain how vocational interests develop and how individuals make education and career choices through the interplay of self-efficacy beliefs, outcome expectations, and personal goals. The relationship between these constructs also works to influence performance and satisfaction, according to this theory. Regarding interests, individuals who engage in activities they believe they can accomplish (self-efficacy) and anticipate such participation will produce a valued outcome and are likely to prefer those activities. Interest in particular activities encourages personal goals or intentions to continue involvement in these activities, and choices are often linked to interests. However, when interests are constrained by environmental conditions, choices will be influenced by available options, resources, self-efficacy beliefs, and outcome expectations (Lent, 2013a).
The above theories emphasize constructs represented by the components and subcomponents included in the navigation framework. Additional information used to inform which components (subcomponents) to include in the navigation framework was drawn from national and international standards, guidelines, and competencies derived from numerous sources that provide navigation-related information (e.g., National Career Development Guidelines, 2004; Australian Blueprint for Career Development, 2010; International Association of Educational and Vocational Guidance, 2004; American School Counselor Association, 2012; McREL, 2014; European Qualifications Framework, 2005; Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, 2009; Stein, 2000; International Labour Office, 2002). A majority of these sources focus on a variety of common themes that pertain to the education and career navigation framework including, but not limited to, academic and technical skills/abilities, beliefs, knowledge of education and the workplace, skills to explore career options, making choices and plans, securing and maintaining work, and ongoing learning.
Important components (subcomponents) in the framework were also identified by examining navigation-related assessments that have been developed to test relevant theories and to facilitate and evaluate interventions. A bridge between theory and practice, these assessments provide support for key components (subcomponents) that influence the real-world questions and circumstances confronting many individuals. These instruments frequently assess personal attributes (including interests, skills/abilities, and values), domain-specific self-efficacies related to making career decisions and searching for jobs, supports and barriers, career decision making, and different aspects of congruence (fit) such as person–organization fit and person–job fit. Multidimensional assessments capture role salience, attitudes, self-efficacy, action planning, exploration, career identity, and implementation, which are part of the navigation framework.